The weather is really hot in Surfer’s Paradise for the last race of the day, the Armor All Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars. There are mobs of people everywhere. I have never seen so much team/driver merchandise on so many people. And the long queues for each of the team merchandise trailers was mind-boggling. These Aussies really take their racing seriously – and loyally.
Several incidents and issues sidelined some International drivers before they had time to show their potential, most notably RYAN BRISCOE of Australia/No.2 Toll Holden Racing Team. On Lap Nine, he was running P6 after starting second. On Lap 10 he slowed considerably, puttered back to the pits. The team changed tires, and twice made adjustments of some kind inside the driver door. But neither Briscoe or co-driver GARTH TANDER went back on course. They retired in P26. The team owner said it was a broken axle. The problem was exacerbated by lack of radio communication between the car and pits.
Two other International drivers who hardly had a chance were MARINO FRANCHITTI of Scotland/No.30 Gulf Western Oil Racing Holden, who made it to Lap 15 before retiring-leaving co-driver WARREN LUFF all dressed up and no place to go; and CHRISTIAN KLIEN of Austria/No.55 The Bottle-O-Racing Team Ford, who was bumped by JAN MAGNUSSEN of Denmark/No.39 Supercheap Auto Racing Holden. Klien hit the wall and bounced back into traffic. Cars were going every which was around him, but only one pranged his nose as getting by. Klien’s day was done and ditto for co-driver, PAUL DUMBRELL, who wanted a better result for one of his last V8 races. Magnussen served a Pit Lane Penalty for the incident.
JOEY HAND of California/No.18 Jim Beam Racing Ford had brake problems from Lap Two on, and finally pitted. The car was worked on and Co-driver JAMES MOFFAT went back out, about nine to ten laps down.
Sunday morning Bulletin No.3 came out from CAMS – V8 Stewards regarding Additional notes for Kerb Overuse Guidelines. It had to do with Bollards and Detection Loops in T2, T6, T7, T8, T9, and T10 chicane. I couldn’t follow it, but did notice that when a driver hit five HOP (kerb jumping, the number five lit up the screen in yellow. PLP=Pit Lane Penalties could be applied, and then the driver’s count would be zeroed out. On the race’s last lap, a minimum 25-point penalty will apply to any car that reaches a count of six on the last lap of the race.
There was one funny moment during a pit stop. A green car which shall go nameless had problems with the left front tire not coming off for the tire changer. So he just kicked it, and sent out the car.
Shortly thereafter, a very unfunny moment occurred when the Mother Energy Racing Team No.19 was refueling and the hose got loose, splashing fuel everywhere. It was contained, but it was scary for JONATHON WEBB. His co-driver is GIL de FERRAN of Brazil, who had already swapped seats.
If he didn’t have bad luck this weekend, JASON BRIGHT would have no luck at all. He gambled incorrectly on the rain-interrupted qualifying session on Saturday, and ended up starting last. His co-driver in No.8 Team BOC Holden is STEPHANE SARRAZIN of France. They finished P21 in the Saturday race.
Sunday’s qualifying didn’t go as well as planned, and Bright qualified twenty-fifth. He was moving up the pack when he was hit by DEAN FIORE/No.12 Westrac Racing Ford. Fiore had spun and was getting back into traffic and broadsided Bright. Fiore continued. Bright had to be towed.
Fiore’s co-driver is GIANNI MORBIDELLI of Italy.
Bright has known his co-driver for years. They ran the 2006 Sebring 12 Hour race together, with PEDRO LAMY, and finished second in GT1, behind OLIVER GAVIN of England, who is also racing this weekend.
So far the cautions Sunday have been for incidents rather than Bollards. Except for one – that may have been for the leader being 23 seconds ahead of second place. That could explain Bourdais’ remark Saturday about his commanding lead – not wanting to get too far ahead, for fear of causing a caution to bunch the field.